Ron Paul 2012: About Those Racist Newsletters…

OPINION

 
on December 19 2011 3:21 PM

Ron Paul is the saint of the 2012 presidential race.

He is not corrupted by money, has been married to the same wife since 1957 and by all accounts raised his five children (including Rand Paul) to be upstanding citizens.

He is consistent in his political stance and even backs them up with personal actions; he refuses to participate in the Congressional pension program, did not take Medicaid and Medicare money as a doctor and encouraged his children to refuse government-backed student loans.

In one of his earliest known displays of virtue, Paul turned down a full athletic scholarship with Penn State because he was not confident [he] could meet the standards of honoring that scholarship.

He is a boy scout compared to the likes of Newt Gingrich, who took over $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, cheated on and then divorced two wives (he is now on his third wife) and had to pay $300,000 to settle ethics charges relating to taxes as the Speaker of the House in 1997. A think tank he founded also received millions from the health care industry.

The one thing critics have on Paul, though, is a series of racist newsletters published a few decades ago under his name.

Among other things, the newsletters contained racist language against Martin Luther King and blacks in general.

As Paul's campaign gains traction, this scandal is almost sure to resurface again as it did in 1996 and in 2008. In fact, it already has.

New York Magazine put out an article a few days ago that declared Paul a really creepy bigot.

The article stated that Paul has drawn the admiration of social liberals despite being a bigot because nobody is attacking him.

Paul is (correctly) considered to have no chance to actually win the GOP nomination, so debate moderators have not bothered to research his past, instead tossing off generalized questions that allow him to portray himself on his preferred terms, stated the article.

Separately, a Mother Jones article portrayed Paul's association with the newsletters in a negative light and concluded with the dismissive remark that none of his presidential opponents...have raised the newsletters as an issue [because] they simply don't take him seriously.

Since this issue was first brought to national attention during Paul's 2008 campaign, Paul and his staff have repeatedly stated that Paul did not author those newsletters. Instead, it was ghostwriters who wrote them. When asked about the identities of the ghostwriters, Paul claims complete ignorance.

However, this was not always the story Paul and his campaign told.

In his 1996 Congressional run against Democrat Lefty Morris, Paul's campaign gave an entirely different account, which is essentially that Paul wrote the newsletters but the racist quotes were taken out of context.

In a 1996 interview with the Dallas Morning News, Paul actually defended several racist remarks found in the newsletters, including the statement if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.

If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them, he was reported telling the Dallas Morning News.

It was only in 2001 that Paul started to disown authorship of the newsletters and its racist remarks. He also offered an explanation of why he claimed authorship in 1996.

When asked by S. C. Gwynne of Texas Monthly why he defended the racist writings, Paul said: I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me. It wasn't my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around.

I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn't come from me directly, but they [campaign aides] said that's too confusing...It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it, he said.

Since that interview, Paul and his campaign have gone on record countless times to deny that Paul authored the offensive remarks, claiming the Texas Congressman had nothing to do with their production at all.

Regarding his lack of involvement in producing the newsletters, Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2008: I was in a medical practice. I traveled a lot. I was doing speeches around the country.

Ultimately, the public may never know the identity of Paul's racist ghostwriters. As to why Paul initially claimed authorship of the newsletters, one can decide if one believes the explanation Paul gave to Texas Monthly. IBTimes' request for comments has not been immediately answered by Paul's campaign.

The Texas Congressman, however, has repeatedly emphasized that the entire racist newsletters issue is a political maneuver by opponents to paint him as a racist.

Even back in 1996, Paul labeled the issue as typical political demagoguery.

If people are interested in my character . . . come and talk to my neighbors, he told the Dallas Morning News back then.

Nobody has ever heard me say anything [racist]...everybody knows I don't participate in that kind of language, Paul told Blitzer in 2008.

Blitzer himself testified that the racist language in Paul's newsletters did not sound like the Ron Paul that I've come to know and our viewers have come to know all this time.

When asked about Paul's racist newsletter writings, Nelson Linder, director of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, said he met Paul over 20 years ago and did not get the impression at all that the Congressman was a racist.

Indeed, there are no credible documented accounts of Paul speaking and acting in a racist manner in his entire public career. Quite the opposite, people have testified that he is anything but racist.

Paul calls himself an anti-racist and said he does not judge people by the color of their skin because as Martin Luther King said, what is important is the character of the individual, he told Blitzer.

On the general issues of race as it pertains to the presidential office, Paul claims he is the best candidate for minorities.

I'm the only candidate, Republican or Democratic, who would protect the minority against...vicious drug laws, he told Blitzer.

Indeed, the failed War on Drugs policy has often been derisively referred to as the War on Minorities.

War on drugs is a war on Black and Brown and must be challenged by the highest levels of our government in the war for justice, said Rev. Jesse Jackson.

War on Drugs has been for the most part, a racially-tinged fabrication that gives easy excuses to those who once felt that black empowerment had become a threat to national security, said Professor Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University.

Not only has it been proven that the government consistently looked the other way as drugs flowed into black neighborhoods, but there was the double-whammy of giving black men long prison sentences as a result of possessing those very same drugs. Decades later, the black family is decimated unlike anything we've ever seen before, said Watkins.

An article that appeared in Mother Jones went as far as calling the War on Drugs the new Jim Crow system, referencing the very discriminatory state and local laws the Civil Rights movement sought to end in the 1960s.

Both the old and new Jim Crow systems legally discriminated against [blacks] in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits.

Paul and Gary Johnson are the only two presidential candidates for 2012 who are staunchly against the War on Drugs policy.

Paul and Johnson are also the only two candidates to have promised to pardon all non-violent drug offenders of all races if they were elected President.

So far, Paul has had some success in getting through to the black community.

In a contemplative article titled For Black Voters, Why Not Ron Paul?, NewsOne pointed out that Paul's position against military spending and the War on Drugs resonates with Black America.

The YouTube video below compiles clips of black voters speaking in support of Paul.

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